I've had a Vudu box for about 2 weeks now and have been very pleased. The closest Blockbuster is about 25 mins from my house, and I'm not a big Netflix type of guy (i.e. if I want to watch something, I don't like to wait a few days/weeks to get it). With the Vudu, I have access to a huge library of content (4000+ available to rent) without leaving my house, and I get instant start (no buffering, no wait for the download to finish...just click "rent" and the movie starts). The Vudu is also a very quiet box (unlike my XBox360, which sounds like a jet engine most of the time). I believe it has a small internal fan, but I can't hear it...even if all of my other equipment is off. Quality of the HD titles is pretty good. I'd say it's better than DVD and cable VOD, but it doesn't compete with HD DVD or BR. I have only watched one SD title, so I don't have a lot of reference points for those. The one I did watch had marco-blocking in a few spots. - I've got two weeks left to decide if I want to keep it (30 day trial) and am certain I'm going to hang onto it.
I'm afraid there are a few errors in the Vudu section of the chart. Info that should be updated is as follows...
- Content is 480p for SD and 1080p/24 for HD (yep, 1080p/24 and the Vudu will output that via HDMI).
- Vudu is currently offering certain movies for free rental (last week it was old westerns...not sure if that changes weekly or...??? - haven't had the box long enough to know). If you buy a box now, you also get Bourne Identity and Supremacy in HD for free (as in you own the copy on the Vudu box...watch it as often as you want).
- the "some in HD" works out to be 111 titles (as of last week - haven't checked this week)...I believe that's more than Apple at the moment. Why is HD "running scared" on Vudu? Not sure I understand that. fivepoint - do you know something I don't? Please, share!
- I wanted to mention the sound quality for Vudu too as I think it is probably the best you'll find on a download service at the moment. They use DD+ (256kbps for movies w/5.1 surround). The Vudu box converts the DD+ to 640kbps DD (see the Dolby whitepaper on DD+ for how this works).
If you are looking to download to own or if you want something that handles music, I think Apple is a better bet. I just wanted something for rentals, and I wanted the best audio/video quality I could get. Based on my online research, the Vudu was the best fit. Their large video library pushed me over the top, and I decided to give it a try. No regrets so far!
It would be unfair of me to not mention the negatives...
- 1080p output is 24Hz only (no 1080p60)
- can't transfer movies that you've purchased to another device (iPod, etc. not supported)
- ability to add an external HD via USB is not yet supported (promised via future sw upgrade)
- some movies available for purchase only...some available for rental only
- movies sometimes show up for rental a week or two after they are available to own on DVD
If you can live with those things, then I think you'll be pleased with the Vudu.